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15 Tips to protect your privacy online

tips protect your privacy online

In 2014, over 5 million Google account passwords were leaked online after a successful data breach.

According to Statista, only 12% of US internet users were confident of their online privacy in a survey taken by May 2016. This indicates that online privacy is a critical issue in cybersecurity.

Regrettably, there are cybercriminals out there hell-bent on exploiting your privacy for their illegal motives. Besides, this age of Internet of Things (IoT) makes it possible for people to reach you from any geographical location from their digital devices.

By applying our enlisted tips in this post, you should be able to protect your privacy online without hassles.

Best Tips to Protect your Privacy Online

Before I give you the tips, I want you to take 1 minute for this preliminary check.

Note: The site allows you to check whether your email account has been compromised after a data breach.

Apply the following tips for your online privacy:

  1. Make use of strong passwords for all your accounts

If you are still making use of weak passwords such as 123456, abcdef, abc123, 19901990, etc. you need to change that. Strong passwords are usually characterized with a length of 20 mixed characters or more.

For instance, a password such as {f#3C69GD$e~T?k&?NgTP is a good example of a strong password. Make use of strong password generators such as PasswordsGenerator, Norton Password Generator, RandomPG, LastPass, etc. to generate unique and separate passwords for all your accounts such as email, social media logins, bank logins, etc. Then, make use of password management tools to store your passwords.

  1. Setup another email account for online services

Some email service providers experience data breach which exposes their users’ email accounts and passwords. Therefore, it is essential that you have multiple email accounts for your online activity. You can consider email account compartmentalization. For instance, you can dedicate an email account for your bank statements, another email account for your social media, another email account for receiving newsletter, another personal email account, etc. from different email service providers.

  1. Privatize your Social media or public profile

tips protect your privacy onlineThe boon of social media makes it easy to get noticed by thousands of people across the world. However, you need to prioritize your online privacy when making use of social media. Not all followers, fans, or friends online are genuine – there are hackers, stalkers and cyber bullies waiting to haunt you. Besides, your images can be “grabbed” online with a simple right-click. Therefore, you need to adjust your privacy settings on all your connected social networking sites as well as public forum sites.

  1. Install an antivirus software

Antivirus software is your primary defense against any form of cyber threats such as Trojan horses, malwares, spyware, etc. which may occur from the internet. You need to install a strong antivirus for maximum security.

  1. Use a VPN

Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a secure connection method which masks your online identity and anonymizes your location online. With a VPN, you can spoof(change) your real location online. Basically, revealing your true location to strangers on the internet exposes your privacy. Notable VPNs you can use include NordVPN, Hotspot Shield, TorVPN, etc.

  1. Don’t share your phone number, house address, private details

If your real house address is available online, then you might need to change it. Information such as phone number, house address, or any other private details should not be exposed online. Such information should be kept private.

  1. Clear browser history/use incognito mode

According to Statista in a May 2017 survey, the most popular online privacy measure is clearing browser history. You can easily do this by pressing Shift + Ctrl + delete keys. Alternatively, go to your browser settings and delete your browsing history.

In addition, use secure web browsers or browse in ‘incognito mode’. This will prevent online services or ISPs from selling your online data to advertisers.

  1. Remember to log out

If you are making use of public computer or a borrowed digital device to login to your email accounts or social networking sites (SNS), ensure you logout after usage. Many internet users have been compromised simply by failing to log out. You can’t imagine the expression of a wannabe cybercriminal at an internet café with a Gmail account still logged in.

Note: Some online services such as Gmail, Facebook, Chrome, Instagram etc. allows you to log out from other devices not close to you.

  1. Use public hotspots and Wi-Fi with caution

If you love using ‘free’ internet connection, I mean public Wi-Fi or hotspots, proceed with caution. Public Wi-Fi are always targeted by hackers who are ready to snoop your online browsing activity such as sites visited, login details, etc. Also, you might receive free keylogger gift (never mind). Nevertheless, don’t access sensitive websites such as your online bank accounts when using public Wi-Fi.

  1. Use anonymous search engines

It is nearly impossible to quit Google. Google, Bing, Yahoo are the biggest search engines – no doubt. However, in order to avoid advertisements tailored after your personal browsing history, you may consider using anonymous search engines. DuckDuckGo, StartPage, Searx.me, and other private search engines can be considered for your online privacy.

  1. Beware of shady websites

Be cautious of the websites you visit. Avoid entering your personal information of questionable sites such as porn websites, shady schemes, free gifts sites, ecommerce websites with no HTTPS, free download sites, etc. In addition, exit from any website that requires you install a software or add-on before downloading a freebie. Most of these sites are notable for distributing malwares, spywares, etc. Beware!

  1. Password protect your PC and mobile devices

Ensure you password-protect your digital devices such as PC, mobile phones, tablets, etc. For your mobile device PINs, don’t use your birth year or favourite 4-digit PINs. This information can be utilized by someone close to you in order to invade your online privacy.

In addition, don’t share your password or PINs with others. You can create a guest account on your personal computer (PC) or use guest mode on your Android device.

  1. Disable GPS

GPS feature across digital devices either mobile or desktop are not only battery-draining features but they also makes you susceptible to stalkers. Any cyberstalker can easily pinpoint your present location on social media apps with GPS features. Therefore, you need to disable GPS otherwise known as Location Service.

  1. Use an ad-blocker

Ad-blocker is utility software which blocks ads from appearing while surfing websites. Some websites present genuine advertisements to website visitors. However, some malwares have been disguised as ads to users. Hence, you may need to install an ad-blocker on your PC to prevent intrusive ads from invading your privacy.

  1. Tape over your webcams

Laptop security software generally prevents cyber threats from penetrating your PC. However, some hackers can gain access to your webcams or home security cameras without you noticing the camera indicator light. The famous NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden recommends taping over your webcams as a measure to protect your privacy. I usually do this unless when up for a Skype video chat.

Bottom line

Online privacy is the right of every internet user. Hence, it is a necessity to keep your personal data and identity private. Apply the tips aforementioned to protect your privacy online.

Do you know of any tip which did not make our list? Comment below. Also, you can contact us.

Daniel Segun
Daniel Segun is a Content Writer and Editor with over 6 years of experience. When not writing, he's probably busy designing graphics or developing websites.
http://www.techsegun.com/

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